Guarding your home and yard comes naturally to the shepherd. Serious guarding instincts begin to appear during adolescence, when a previously sweet shepherd transforms almost overnight into a strong-willed protector of the universe.
You do want your shepherd to alert you to anyone approaching your home, as long as he will calm down when you give a “Hush” command. When you let someone in the front door, however, you want the shepherd to turn off his guard instincts and immediately change back into a well-mannered pet. Often, your shepherd will behave in this manner if he is well socialized — he won't bark at your guests if he's not afraid of them — as well as well-trained (will remain in a sit-stay if asked) and trusting in you (even if he doesn't approve of your choice of guests).
Which is more territorial: a female shepherd or a male shepherd?
There are exceptions to every rule, but in general, male shepherds are more protective of property and female shepherds are more protective of people.
Sometimes when a shepherd hits adolescence, she becomes increasingly territorial. Part of the reason for this is that the adolescent shepherd's owner often thinks he's finished working with his shepherd. He did all the puppy training, housetraining, and a little obedience work — what's left to do? But the shepherd is not like other breeds; she is a lifelong project. If you stop taking her out of the home regularly for socialization, she is apt to become increasingly territorial about her home and yard.
With careful attention, you can curb early signs of aggression in your pet.
A shepherd that is very territorial is difficult to own as a house pet. If the shepherd is protective to the point where only family members can enter the home, life gets complicated. If you want to have friends come over and be safe around the dog, you will have to crate her. She will have to be crated, too, if your children have friends come over to play.
Since confinement to her home seems to increase a shepherd's sense of protection, it would follow that the more you get her out of the house, the less territorial she will be. Actually, this seems to work. The more the shepherd is outside of her home, whether riding in the car, going for a jog, or attending training classes, this time away appears to lessen the dog's territorial behavior.
Never chain your shepherd in the yard or put him on a line. The combination of natural territorial protectiveness and the fear of having no escape can create a worried, unstable, and potentially vicious dog. Statistically, chained dogs are the cause of more than one-third of all fatal dog attacks.
Additionally, if your shepherd is an intact male, consider neutering him. Neutering does not alter the dog's basic character, but it does tend to take the testosterone-charged male down a notch. It could help to make the shepherd less territorial. Your dog will still be protective, but his behavior will be more manageable.